Apr 21, 2024 - News

More people are applying to college in the D.C. area

Change in Common App applicants and applications in the Washington, D.C. area
Note: Data is pulled from the 834 institutions with Common App membership since the 2019-2020 application season. No D.C. public institution has been a member since then. Data: Common App. Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people applying to college in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia has increased over the last five years, as have the number of applications received by schools in each of those areas, per Common App data.

The big picture: D.C. saw the largest percentage leap in the number of residents applying to colleges and universities via the Common App between the 2019-2020 and 2023-2024 academic years — from 2,438 to 3,403, a nearly 40% increase.

  • Virginia went from 38,533 Common App applicants to 48,200, a 25% increase, while Maryland saw a 21% jump, from 29,978 to 36,290.

Meanwhile, Virginia saw the greatest spike in Common App applications received at its private and public institutions.

Yes, but: Virginia also had a higher number of Common App-using institutions during the time measured than in Maryland and D.C.

Zoom in: The Washington region has seen a more than 13% jump in applicants eligible to waive the Common App fee, most of whom are low-income, between the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 cycles, the group tells Axios.

  • During the same period, there was a 7% increase in the number of DMV Common App applicants identifying as Black, Latino, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, says the group.

The intrigue: These jumps come at a time when an increasing number of young people are foregoing four-year colleges in favor of vocational programs.

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